January 10, 2012

Mussels with Sun Dried Tomato & Basil Bread Crumbs

I've attempted steamed mussels once before and it was fine. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing so incredible that I've filed the recipe as "the recipe" and apparently not memorable in that I haven't tried again in the whole year.  I saw this recipe on a weekend Barefoot Contessa show and it seemed different yet simple.  It probably had nothing to do with the fact that I hadn't eaten anything that day and everything she made seemed delicious.

Fresh mussels are a must for this dish. Don't try this dish with the mussels in the frozen section as what makes a great mussel dish (in my personal opinion) is the sauce. Yes, the great sauce where you sop up all the juices with slices of bread or scoop extra juice in the mussel shell to loudly slurp. To get that seafood-y flavor and juices, you need fresh mussels and seem to find a good selection at Whole Foods.

Mussels with Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Bread Crumbs
Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa

3 slices of toasted bread (a few more if you like to eat your mussels with bread)
3 cloves of garlic (whole)
1/4 cup olive oil
9 sun dried tomatoes
Juice from 2 lemons 
Zest from 1 lemon
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup white wine
2 lbs fresh mussels
2 tbsp butter

1. Toast the bread and cool.
2. Put the bread, garlic cloves, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil into a food processor. Quickly grind.

3. Add the basil, pine nuts and sun dried tomatoes along with a dash of salt and pepper. Pulse quickly.
4. Make sure your mussels are cleaned.
5. Put the olive oil and white wine into a large pot big enough to hold the mussels.  Bring to a boil.
6. Once boiling, add the mussels and then cover.  Keep covered for at least 5 minutes.  Take a look and your mussels should be all opened and smelling delicious.  Toss in two tablespoon of butter. Turn off the heat and toss any that have not opened.
7. Take the bread crumb mixture and add to the top of the mussels. Give it a good toss with the mussels.
8. Serve with some toasted slice bread to soak up the delicious sauce.

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